When you’re imagining a story, creating the characters for it is just another part of the job. It’s almost automatic, the way they get into your mind, showing you what they look like, how they think, yet, putting those things down on paper isn’t always as obvious or easy to do.
I’m not talking about poor writing skills here, no. They can be well written and yet, not appear interesting at all or straight up unappealing. So, what can you do?
1. No stereotypes
Stereotyped characters aren’t surprising or intriguing. If you want to write one, you should have a specific goal to accomplish with it, and, even so, you can make your character much more interesting by adding some characteristics that run against that stereotype. It grants something new to the story and your readers will like it.
2. Everyone has a secret
A big nasty secret is a hand full of great scenes for a novel or short story. Give your character a secret, something that he or she tries to hide and do not fully open it up to your readers. Let them strain and test themselves while trying to guess at what it is. They’ll become that much more invested in it…
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3. You know those kinds of things you can’t do? He can!
In the world of fiction, everything is possible. In real world we constantly deal with desires and impulses we must control, but in fiction, your character can in fact do it all. Being impulsive and doing unexpected things will actually make him even more interesting. If your character acts on what your readers must try to keep under control, they will keep focus on your story.
A passive character is boring. Let’s face it, we all like to read about that person who does things, changes their life, or the people they love. The person who take the reins of their lives. Let your character be one such person. That will get people invested in them.
5. They need to make sense
Doesn’t matter how crazy your character is, there must be reasons for his or her actions, other than pure craze or randomness. Your character should have values and beliefs that guide their actions. It will make the character itself deeper, more profound and human, and it will help lead the readers towards empathizing with him (or her).
This guest post was contributed by by Cátia Isabel Silva. Catia is a Portugal native who works in the school system. In 2010, she wrote New World as her debut novel.